The Pink Footed Goose numbers have been slowly increasing over the past week, reaching 850 by today (17th of September). It’s hard to believe that we are only 4 days away from last years peak of 63,844, but as mentioned in the previous blog this was an earlier than usual peak and we will be expecting just as many again this year. The Pink-Footed Geese have been joined by a small group of pale-bellied Brent Geese, with 13 being counted over the past few weeks. There are two forms of Brent Geese that that over-winter in the UK, pale-bellied Brents which breed in Greenland and migrate to Ireland and north east England and the Siberian dark-bellied subspecies, which migrate to southern Britain and mainland Europe. The pale-bellied form is the less common of the two subspecies in the UK , with around 4,000 being found over the winter months, compared to 90,000 dark-bellied. The group that we are seeing here will most likely move on after a few weeks, heading to Ireland or Northumberland.
The latest Osprey sighting was on the 15th of September, when one was seen feeding on the perch at the Western end of the Basin. This sighting was likely to be one of the local males or juveniles, as the females tend to leave their nesting areas and head south at an earlier date. The other possibility is that it was an individual that was already heading south after leaving their breeding area further north. Our last Osprey sighting in 2012 was on the 14th of September, so we will be keeping our eyes peeled over the next week or so and hoping this sighting wasn’t our last.
The group of Common Scoter have continued to be seen in the Basin, with between 10 and 13 being counted on a daily basis. A juvenile Wheatear was seen sitting on the dyke in front of the centre on both the 12th and the 15th of the month. Wader sightings from the Visitor Centre have also been good, including 15 Golden Plover on the 8th, 29 Dunlin on the 14th, 40 Black Tailed and 33 Bar Tailed Godwit on the 17th and large groups of Lapwing seen most days.
Visitor Centre Assistant Manager.